Palak Paneer is a popular vegetarian dish from Indian cuisine, made with paneer (Indian cottage cheese) and a smooth spinach sauce. It is nutritious, rich in iron and protein, and has a creamy, savory taste. This dish is commonly served with flatbreads like naan or roti, or with rice.

Ingredients

For the Spinach Puree

  • 250 grams spinach (palak), washed and cleaned
  • 2-3 cups water (for blanching)
  • Ice-cold water (for an ice bath)

For the Paneer

  • 200 grams paneer (Indian cottage cheese), cubed
  • 1 tablespoon oil or ghee
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped or pureed
  • 1-2 green chilies, slit (adjust to taste)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder (haldi)
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder (dhania powder)
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 cup water (adjust as needed for the gravy)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh cream (optional, for garnish)
  • Fresh coriander leaves, chopped (for garnish)

Instructions

Prepare the Spinach Puree

  1. Blanch the Spinach: Bring 2-3 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the cleaned spinach leaves and blanch for 2-3 minutes until they are wilted and bright green. Do not overcook to preserve the vibrant color.
  2. Ice Bath: Immediately transfer the blanched spinach to a bowl of ice-cold water. This stops the cooking process and retains the green color.
  3. Puree the Spinach: Drain the spinach after it has cooled down and blend it in a mixer to a smooth puree. Add a little water if required to get a smooth consistency. Set aside.

Cook the Paneer

  1. Sauté Paneer: Heat oil or ghee in a pan. Add the paneer cubes and sauté them lightly until they turn golden. Remove and set aside. (Optional: Paneer can be used as is without frying for a softer texture.)
  2. Tempering: In the same pan, add cumin seeds and let them crackle. Add the finely chopped onions and sauté until they turn translucent.
  3. Cook the Masala: Add ginger-garlic paste and green chilies, and sauté for a minute until the raw smell disappears. Add the chopped or pureed tomatoes and cook until the oil separates.
  4. Spices: Add turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, and salt. Mix well and cook the masala on low heat until it’s well cooked and oil starts to separate.

Combine and Simmer

  1. Add Spinach Puree: Add the spinach puree to the cooked masala. Mix well and adjust the consistency by adding water if needed. Bring it to a boil.
  2. Add Paneer: Add the fried (or unfried) paneer cubes to the spinach gravy. Mix gently and simmer for 5-7 minutes, so the paneer absorbs the flavors.
  3. Final Touches: Sprinkle garam masala and mix gently. Turn off the heat and add a tablespoon of fresh cream for a richer taste, if desired.

Garnish and Serve

  1. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and a dollop of cream if you like.
  2. Serve hot with flatbreads like naan, roti, or with steamed rice.

Enjoy your delicious and nutritious Palak Paneer!

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